I've read a great many love stories during wartime. This one, during WWI, stands out for several reasons.
It is not just the love of a British soldier for a young French woman. It is also the love between sisters , between brothers, and the love that binds families.
The story is beautifully written from the aspect of several characters starting with the youngest brother, Rudy, who has recently lost his eldest brother, a British soldier, to the battlefields of France. A young French woman has arrived at their estate in England with a young boy she claims to be his brother's child and she his brother's wife.
Suspicions are raised immediately as to the validity of her claim after four years and her reasons for coming now as there has been no mention of her or the supposed marriage she is now asserting as true. Under questioning her answers are vague and she has little proof.
Rudy has another brother, Laurence, who was the middle brother to contend with, a wastrel who seeks to claim his inheritance since their elder brother's death being next in line. This complicated things.
As Rudy seeks to understand and prove or disprove the young woman's story, he finds himself falling for her.
The young woman, is desperate to prove her story having her own reasons to assert her claim that the boy, her son Samuel, is, in fact the son of Edgar, the deceased eldest brother, and must hold up under questions from Rudy, Laurence and their mother with very little proof.
Needless to say, this is a many faceted story told from several viewpoints as each deals with ghosts from the past and flashbacks.
It is an extremely difficult book to put down with great character description and development as the story unfolds. Many surprising turns and a quest for the truth is a fascinating journey. It reads like a multiple-layered mini-saga. Obvious research is employed to create a hearty plot.
This story of life prior to, during and after WWI and its catastrophic effects on the lives of those in the midst of it is well worth reading and I will definitely recommend to readers. Well done!